The Old Chamber
395 Collins Street (Corner of Queen Street)
Catching up with my friend Danielle over lunch after she finished a particularly stressful time at work was fun. We decided to trek up to The Old Chamber, a reasonably new cafe (opening around October 2011) in the heritage Bank of New Zealand building on the corner of Queen and Collins Street.
Of course, on the day we decided to do this, Melbourne had decided that summer was decidedly over, and thus the battle up Collins Street was done in gusting rain and in clothes markedly inadequate for the 14 degree temperatures. We’re Melburnians born and bred though, so we should have seen this coming!
Once we clattered into The Old Chamber, though, we ooh’ed and aah’ed at the interior. The cafe has kept the ultra high windows and ornate interior of the original bank. Looking out of the window you can look across to the equally heritage-listed and awesome ANZ building.
I am a sucker for an all day breakfast menu, so when I was informed that this was available, I instantly went for the crushed avocado, fennel, tomato, goats curd and lemon on sourdough bread and I added a poached egg on top for good measure.
The fennel was a revelation, adding a crispy crunchy element to the dish. The slightly aniseed flavour of fennel worked really well with the lemon in the avocado and tang of the goats cheese. I really liked my lunch-breakfast.
The only downside was that the bread was too hard to cut through, so I had to pick it up in my hands and hoover through it at a faster pace than I would have preferred. It is hard to do this with a perfectly poached egg wobbling on top. They are also, if this is possible, almost too generous with their avocado, although if you are an avo-lover, this is certainly not a failing.
Their salads rotate, so you may not get the options we did on the day. Danielle liked her salads, and I forgot to ask her what the one on the left hand side of the picture is but I’m hazarding a guess that it’s green bean, brown rice and mushroom salad (potentially it could be eggplant though). The one on the right is definitely pumpkin with ricotta. You get a lot of salad for your money and it was a filling meal.
This is a great find for a lunch spot and I’ll be back to try out other things on the menu, particularly as it’s located mid-town between the Paris and Prague ends of the city – a convenient meeting point for work lunchers when they are coming from opposite ends!